It is with great joy that we can announce that Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has finally been voted out of office. Democratic candidate Tony Evers, who led in the polls by five points in the week before the election, rode a wave of public backlash to a razor-thin win called by the Associated Press over the two-term Republican, who also survived a recall effort in 2012 thanks to millions of dollars in dark money donations.
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) November 7, 2018
He earned his bankroll by slavishly devoting himself to the agenda of far-right libertarian “starve the beast” conservatism championed by his billionaire backers, the most prominent of whom are the Koch Brothers.
Walker’s governing agenda could be summarized briefly as “underfunding public institutions, expanding the privatization of government functions, restricting environmental protections, and decimating workers’ rights.”
He was, unfortunately, very successful in those heinous goals. One of his first major acts as Governor was to crush the teachers’ unions and gut their bargaining rights with the passage of Act 10, which Evers has vowed to repeal.
He immediately followed that up with an enormous $834 million cut to the state’s education budget; four years later, after winning re-election, he would escalate his war on public schooling by slashing $250 million from the University of Wisconsin’s budget, depriving teachers of tenure, and expanding the voucher programs for unregulated charter schools, many of which turned out to be simply fronts for taxpayer-funded Bible school.
He would go on to roll out everything on the right-wing oligarch’s wish list; drug testing for welfare and Medicaid recipients, a union-busting right-to-work law, sold off public lands for development by energy and timber corporations, rolled back the public recycling program, work requirements for food stamps, paying $250 million in taxpayer funds so that the millionaires who owned the Milwaukee Timberwolves could have a nice new basketball stadium, you name it.
However, when he embarked on his 2016 presidential run, he soon found that he quickly became lost in a crowd of cretinous psychopaths who were all offering uninspiring variations on the tired and endlessly debunked fairytales about how economic growth comes from tax cuts and how Obamacare was one step away from full-blown communism. Walker’s campaign only lasted a few months before he slunk back to Wisconsin in disgrace.
But it was his last major project that ended up doing him in. In September 2017, Walker signed a deal with Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, infamous for needing to build suicide nets in its Chinese factories to stem the tide of workers killing themselves, to build an enormous plant and create 13,000 jobs in his state.
While Trump and Walker “deal” the plant as a yuge success, the dark truth quickly became clear to the public. In order to get Foxconn to agree to the deal, Walker had agreed to bribe them with a stunning $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies, the largest in American history.
The New Yorker reports that “depending on how many jobs are actually created, taxpayers will be paying between two hundred and twenty thousand dollars and more than a million dollars per job. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau…the earliest citizens might see a return on their Foxconn investment is in 2042.
The obvious downsides to the awful deal with a cruel foreign company and Walker’s questionable decision to run on his terrible education record did him in.
A new future for Wisconsin awaits under the stewardship of Tony Evers, who has pledged to revitalize the state’s public education system as well as investments in early childhood education, childcare, and fix the state’s long-neglected infrastructure. He will immediately expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, refund Planned Parenthood, expand protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and reinstate clean air and water rules while working to roll back Walker’s anti-living wage legislation and restore the unions to their former glory.
While he may have an uphill battle with a Republican-held statehouse, his election marks a turning point in the history of the state of Wisconsin and one of the most viscerally satisfying political victories of this decade.